Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Ancient scriptures across the world were based on symbols. From Greeks to Egyptians to Sanatanis, our ancestors used a lot of symbols to share their wisdom. Symbolism is a visual or artistic representation of concepts with a deeper meaning. The Swastika is one such symbol used extensively across the world. The western world shunned using it after it was used by Adolf Hitler as the symbol of Nazis during World War 2. However, the sign is still very popular in South Asian cultures like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. We all have seen the Swastika used during festivals, on doors, in temples, etc. but most of us are unaware of its history, meaning, and significance.
The symbol of Swastika dates back to the Vedic period and was mentioned in the texts of Rigveda. Lord Indra, the God of Thunder has been associated with this sign. The word Swastika arises from the word Swastha which means well being and good health. Hence this was a spiritual sign of prosperity and well-being. In Vastu Shastra, it is known to be a massive energy center which helps positive energy to flow in the right direction. The four legs of a Swastika represent the four directions of the world. Hence this symbol was used to let positivity flow from all four directions. According to Vedic scriptures, the Earth encounters 4 Eras or Yugas. These are the Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga, and Kali Yuga. Together these four Yugas form one Kalpa. Some scholars believe that Swastika represents this cycle of 4 Yugas. Some state that Swastika represents the four phases of one's life. The Vedic life was divided into 4 different phases of 25 years each. These were the Brahmacharya ashram, Grihastha ashram, Vanaprastha ashram, and Sanyasa ashram.
Another belief suggests that the center of the Swastika holds the entire Universe or Brahma. Meditation and Sadhana help us experiencing this Universe inside us. However, we need to discipline our minds for this. The four lines arising out of this center in a Swastika represent the four different aspects of the mind that need to be worked upon. These are :
Manas - It refers to our thinking or decisive powers
Buddhi - This refers to our intellect
Chitta - Refers to our Memory
Ego - Refers to the individuality or the sense of I
The next four lines arising out of these central lines represent the four different paths that a human mind needs to follow. To discipline the mind. These are Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga. With the help of these different spiritual paths, one is sure to achieve the self-awareness required to experience the whole Cosmos inside us.
In Buddhism, Swastika is a symbolic representation of the Buddha's holy feet. The Greeks considered this sign to be associated with Zeus. A lot of Hindus correlate Swastika with Sun God. Sun is the main source of energy for Earth. Hence the symbol of Swastika helps channelize positive energy in the right direction. Swastika is drawn pointing towards the right direction. This one is associated with the Sun, well being, and prosperity. The other one pointing towards the left is called Suwastika and is associated with Night and Dark Magic. Hindus consider the left sided Suwastika negative and fear its consequences.
There are several other definitions however what remains constant is that this symbol is very popular and shows the path to a disciplined life and enlightenment. Today the western world considers it as a sign of war and omen however just because this symbol was used to represent war and violence does not mean that the sign is evil itself.
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